This, and proposals to dock child benefits, smacks of desperation. It will be a useful deterrent for some - but how many unwilling children will be corralled back into classes they loathed, still learning nothing?
Feckless parents are only part of the problem. OFSTED says the early secondary years can turn pupils off forever. Some youngsters will never see the point of a wholly academic curriculum: schools must have the freedom to accommodate them. And ministerial quips about bargepole schools do not help. If we are going to be tough on truancy, let's be tough on its causes, too.